Nearly all anime and manga series feature a tensai (“genius”) character– some for comic relief, some for an obligatory expository mouthpiece, while some just want to tick off one character trope from the list.
It’s hard to make a believably smart character, though, since it’s limited by the actual thinking capacity of the author himself. (We can’t give what we don’t have, yes?) So I regard it as heaven-sent if I encounter an actual smart character, rather than the least dumb character in the series.
So below I’ve rounded off 7 Smart Anime/Manga Characters that Will Turn You Sapiosexual. But first, let’s hear it from the revered scholars over at Urban Dictionary:
One who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature.
“I want an incisive, inquisitive, insightful, irreverent mind. I want someone for whom philosophical discussion is foreplay. I want someone who sometimes makes me go ouch due to their wit and evil sense of humor. I want someone that I can reach out and touch randomly. I want someone I can cuddle with.
I decided all that means that I am sapiosexual.”
This list will be limited to the following:
- Titles I’ve read / watched
- Less Mainstream Series (Let’s face it: Lelouch, Shinichi Kudo, L, and Light are already carved into your bedposts by now)
- Has at least a bit of romance (sorry, it’s my genre bias)
- Logic / book-smart (so no prodigies in the field of music, sports, cooking, etc.)
My list inevitably ended up with mostly detective-type mysteries (which showcase their intelligence best), but if you think I missed anyone, let me know in the comments!
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!
7 Smart Anime/Manga Characters that Will Turn You Sapiosexual
1. Dr. Frost – Dr. Frost (Manhwa, ongoing)
If only my mandatory Pscyh subjects in college were as sexy-smart as this series. This eponymous bishie is a genius psychologist (with a dearth of emotional range, ironically) who gets assigned to the counselling office of a university. He tackles various cases with his surprisingly competent but polar opposite assistant, Ms. Yoon, and he’s not afraid to use unconventional ways to properly diagnose his clients’ cases.
While it’s awesome reading how his impressively cold logic can get to the bottom of the clients’ issues, the parts where he goes through his own introspection are equally great reads. The small gaps in his past remind us that despite being a genius in his field, the professor is certainly not infallible and that he’s still human, after all.
(Side note: I spotted a Live Action adaptation, but I didn’t like how old the actor playing his character looked!)
2. Sou Touma – Q.E.D.: Shoumei Shuuryou (Manga, 99 chapters)
At first glance, Sou Touma seems to be a boy-next-door type who’s easily amused (yay, snowflakes!) and is entertainingly hen-pecked by his partner-in-crime, Mizuhara Kana. However, this MIT grad-turned-high school student (yes, I know. It does require some element of suspension of belief to get past that plot device) can definitely put his broad knowledge of STEM to work and solve mysteries ranging from deaths and theft to trivial classroom disputes. So far, he has used quantum mechanics, astronomy, and computers (to name a few) to get to the Q.E.D. (loosely, “demonstration of proof”)
What I like most about him though is his (very few) moments with Kana, whom he felt most bonded to because she was the first person to treat him as an equal (despite being only able to match his intelligence with her spunk and physical prowess). As characters have noted, she was his weakness: the one person who can move him to do things that won’t benefit him.
BTW, the series also has a Live Action, but based on the few clips I’ve watched, I had to pass. I am generally aware of how J-drama actors tend to over-act, but when coupled with terrible CGI, it just becomes wholly unwatchable for me.
3. Maou – Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (Manga/Anime, ongoing)
Maou laid down the groundwork of her famed knowledge in economics and political strategies right on the very first chapter. I mean, I can barely recall the concept of price elasticity in my economic classes after a week’s review– imagine having to frame those concepts impromptu in one passionate bargaining plea with the strongest hero in the world?
The Demon “King” is ditzy when it comes to romance, but she’s competent as hell in everything else. It’s enough for me to turn a blind eye away from the story’s glorious fanservice and harem-ness.
4. Mikoshiba Gakuto – Kakuritsu Sousakan Mikoshiba Gakuto (Manga, 11 chapters *Vol 1 scanlated to English)
My knowledge of Math is limited to reading analog clocks and making sure I have the right change when shopping, so this manga could have solved cases using elementary algebra and I would have been BLOWN AWAY. But the mathematician protagonist (who’s helping out the police) makes use of probabilities, gaming, etc. to creatively resolve not just the main whodunnit, but the other little questions / side topics that come up in the story.
I especially adore how socially clueless he is when dealing with his colleague, Niizuma Tomoki. Here’s to hoping more chapters get scanlated! (Or even the light novel will do!)
5. Nishigami Matsushirou – Shindere Shoujo to Kodoku na Shinigami (Manga, 20 chapters)
Right off the bat, child prodigy Nishigami Matsushirou declares before the class that he has no intention to get close to anyone when he transferred to a small island– out of fear that he is a shinigami (he believes anyone who got close to him dies). A few pages later, he is bound by fate to Wakanae Akira, the only person who had the courage to approach him. Together, they solve the mysteries in the island, which are connected to the new power awakened in Wakanae.
Most anime/manga geniuses are portrayed as cold to their love interests, but Nishigami acts all tsundere with Wakanae, getting into silly arguments with her yet going all-out whenever her safety is concerned, regardless of his weak constitution.
Tragically, the story stops at chapter 20 because the author passed away before the series was completed. This is a real shame, as the manga was really enjoyable up to that point.
6. Saitou Yakumo – Shinrei Tantei Yakumo (Anime/Manga, ongoing)
The series exists in the same universe as Mikoshiba Gakuto, having been written by the same author. Instead of using mathematics though, Yakumo utilizes his sharp logic and supernatural ability to see and communicate with spirits in order to solve police cases.
He tends to get harsh and sarcastic (more so in the LNs), which I think makes sense when you have to slow down your thinking pace in order for others to catch up. Nonetheless, he has a soft spot for Ozawa Haruka, the first person to call his unusual red eye “beautiful”.
7. Qwenthur Barbotage – Heavy Object (Anime/Manga, ongoing)
Supposedly just a student aspiring to become a Heavy Object designer, Qwenthur has consistently exceeded expectations by winning battles against giant war machines using only his wits and tech knowledge (the hand-axe doesn’t hurt one bit, though). Amusingly, he is also blissfully unaware of his growing harem (which Havia knows has every potential to wage havoc on international relations).
- Oreki Houtarou (Hyouka) – Cursed to befriend / fall in love with a perpetually curious girl, Oreki has to go against his “energy conservation” rule in order to solve mysteries using his logic and amazing powers of observation.
- Mizushima Tooru (Iris Zero) – in a world that thrives in supernatural abilities called Iris, Tooru compensates for his lack of one by using his logic, particularly his deductive abilities.
- Kagami Junichirou (Denpa Kyoushi) – a Physics teen genius who ended up as an otaku-obsessed NEET was forced to work by his sister as a high school teacher. Early chapters showed his cleverness, but it became repetitive in the latter chapters. Ended up dropping it after his 48,000th harem/groupie appeared.
- Sora and Shiro (No Game, No Life) – A pair of inseparable siblings got trapped in a world governed by game rules. I will always remember their Materialization Shiritori game, particularly the latter part where they started tinkering with the planet’s elements.